you wait around
you get the word
Jenny Holzer, Protect Me From What I Want
Do Not Touch Me, I am Caesar's
-- by Sarah Hannah
The fast hind's lust -- I wonder if you know.
Aging cowboy, boasting over ale
Of pretties knocked up by your arrow,
Of trees and tendon pinned down by your skill.
I wonder if you know how I can carve
You out in well-placed blows of hoof to bone;
I wonder if you know how velvets burn
And chafe beneath the collar, in the grove.
They say I'm marked for centuries, penned
To the nines, the end of time, the emperor.
I wonder if you know the hind's a whore.
You circle, point. I should run, but relent
With your approach -- your strokes, your begging head.
My bond is null, my lauded god long dead.
-- by Sarah Hannah
I always say, it must give way, it must all pass on
Soon, the husks, the frayed leaves clung to ossified sticks,
Illuminated by a flash of tedium: sleek
Silver Amtrak where I sit, a slow boxy stasis,
Shuttling endlessly between the same two terminals --
Boston, New York, New York, Boston -- until it is no
Longer clear to me which was origin and which is
Destination, and maybe origin is after
All and destination was, and where the hell does one
Reside, in shrub and tree -- leaf fall loaming into roots?
And then, suddenly, a coastal town, I never know
Exactly when, but somewhere in the middle -- a bay,
Egrets alighting, and then cows, and twists of briar,
And one gigantic trunk, long dead, full of green shoots.
--by Kim Addonizio
In this shallow creek
they flop and writhe forward as the dead
float back toward them. Oh, I know
what I should say: fierce burning in the body
as her eggs burst free, milky cloud
of sperm as he quickens them. I should stand
on the bridge with my camera,
frame the white froth of rapids where one
arcs up for an instant in its final grace.
But I have to go down among
the rocks the glacier left
and squat at the edge of the water
where a stinking pile of them lies,
where one crow balances and sinks
its beak into a gelid eye.
I have to study the small holes
gouged into their skin, their useless gills,
their gowns of black flies. I can't
make them sing. I want to,
but all they do is open
their mouths a little wider
so the water pours in
until I feel like I'm drowning.
On the bridge the tour bus waits
and someone waves, and calls down
It's time, and the current keeps lifting
dirt from the bottom to cover the eggs.